By William Dean Howells
Centering on a clash among a self-made millionaire and an idealistic reformer in turn-of-the-twentieth-century manhattan, A chance of latest Fortunes insightfully renders the complexities of the yank event at a time of serious social and financial upheaval and transformation. In its depiction of wealth, poverty, and long island urban existence, it continues to be a strikingly modern work.
Reproduced this is the authoritative Indiana collage Press variation edited and annotated by means of David J. Nordloh, with complete scholarly remark and vast textual equipment.
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Extra resources for A Hazard of New Fortunes (Penguin Classics)
A spirit of rebellion against their mentors and against the sonnet tradition propelled both poets’ innovations. But, equally, both were plagued by apprehensions – artistic and moral – about their writing. They attempted, in contrasting ways, to reconcile the conventions and constraints of a typically European form with their American free verse heritage, but they also betrayed their doubts that this could be done or even that it was worth doing. In this essay, then, I shall consider the ways in which Berryman and, more briefly, Lowell negotiated the difficulties of writing sonnets in late twentieth-century America, addressing in particular their consciousness of the form’s history and their uneasiness about adapting it to treat their modern American love affairs.
For an American poet, the sonnet may be limited as much by its European associations as by its actual formal constraints, but Berryman is just as eager to challenge his poetic ancestors as to revere them. He often evokes Elizabethan sonnet conventions explicitly to distance himself from them. Sonnet 40, for example, with obvious allusion to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 55, implies that twentieth-century poets no longer have immortal longings for their verse: “Marble nor monuments whereof then we spoke / We speak of more”.
Susan Gubar, Poetry After Auschwitz: Remembering What One Never Knew, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2003, 149-50. 22 22 Matthew Boswell attention to: for example, the dramatic and acoustic elements of poetry can give documentary material a greater sense of immediacy than it has in prose. The sound of poetry can also be used to create the emotional terrain for the action described in its lyric: in Berryman’s poem the prisoners “shuffle” to their deaths to the accompaniment of a sombre iambic pentameter.